Home cup match played on 28 January 2012.
Kicked off at 2:00 PM

The day had finally come. Forget all the tabloid speculation, the Sky Sports hype, and the recent form of both clubs. Cup day was upon us with the London Premier’s two biggest clubs going head-to-head. At one game apiece in the league, the cup offered the chance for one club to come out on top as the old foes went to battle - with PPR famished for cup glory and Rogers Rovers determined to put another spanner in the works of PPR's glorious run.


PPR opted to mix the team up a little since the win over Bethnal Green, with a more cautious 5-3-2 approach. Perhaps hindering their attacking options further was the absence of their beautiful leader, Tom Barnes, who was out due to a mild-bruise. But such is the depth and strength of the PPR squad, a solid 11 were put forward, with a bench to rival Man City’s in Tomkins Jr., Byrnie and Baker.


The game started at a fast pace with Priory creating the bulk of the chances down the right, with Johnny and Meds causing their left back all sorts of problems. In the first ten minutes, great chances were made for Tricky and Meds, who both came close to putting Priory in front, and it seemed it was only a matter of time before the seal was broken. Rogers Rovers are not a team to sit back, and they came forward as much as they could but the experimental back 5 remained solid and looked as though they could cope with Rovers' efforts all day.


The wing-backs were providing Priory with width, while Flynn and Jacko dominated in the middle, winning balls and spreading it to the channels. In the 22nd minute, the inevitable happened with Jacko putting a great ball through to Meds who rounded the keeper and squared the ball to Jonny for an easy finish. 1-0 Priory.  Rovers refused to sit back and continued to come at Priory, but when Plan A failed to produce, the team began to get frustrated, with absolute wankers such as Scott-Dog lashing out and generally behaving like cunts.


Just before half-time, Scott-Dog picked up the ball on the by-line and was greeted with a 10 minute-late challenge from Hunter which saw the Rogers Rovers’ “Hardman” spend the next 5 minutes crying and claiming how he was going to “get that number 2”, before getting up and drifting to the other side of the pitch and failing to come anywhere near the left-back for the remainder of the game. 1-0 to Priory at half time, with the atmosphere bubbling, the second half promised to be intense.


To the credit of Rogers Rovers, they came out in the second half with a point to prove, pushing their star-player into an attacking role. Priory have had a problem with concentration after HT this season, and soon cracked under the early pressure from Rovers. The aforementioned star-player held the ball up well in the final third, giving his team mates more opportunities, leading to a ball into the box from the right-wing. An attempted clearance from Tomkins Snr. ended up in the PPR goal. 1-1.


The following 15 minutes saw a revitalised Rogers Rovers get more into the game. And with the play going back and forth, Rovers’ star player once again proved to be the catalyst for another goal. 1-2.This was the real turning point for PPR who instead of letting their heads drop, dug deep and got their rhythm back, showing the sort of determination that has seen them flying so high recently. Tomkins Jnr. replaced an injured Jacko (50). Then just minutes later Meds picked up the ball in the box, brilliantly skipping past a defender before being brutally taken down. The referee pointed to the spot and up stepped part-time bender, full-time hooligan, James Flynn to do the honours. 2-2.


With the game of the season well and truly on, both teams did their best to nick the advantage. The pressure was starting to show on the league leaders, who started to lose their temper under the constant class of Priory. Rovers’  right-winger had been constantly frustrated by Tomkins Snr. and foolishly tried to setlle the matter physically. Trying to take on both of the Tomkins Twins is rarely a smart move, as the ginger was quick to learn, resulting in yellows all-round.


Priory sent on Byrnatov with 10 minutes left, in the hope of some inspiration. Priory continued to play their football, and despite looking like the better side against the league leaders, they had one more man to play against - the referee. As The Owls pressed Rovers onto their backfoot, the visiting side looked like they were beginning to crack, and a ball into the box from Hunter should have seen a payoff. The Rovers’ centre-back clearly reached out with his right-hand to stop the ball from reaching Byrnie, but the referee couldn't care less and waved play on. Rovers’ big number 20 in the middle was making life tough for the stretched PPR midfield, travelled into PPR's box and under zero pressure, fell to the floor like a sack of shit. The ref pointed straight to the spot and the opportunistic Rovers converted to go back in front. 3-2.


With just 5 minutes left, a lesser team would have fallen apart. But this Priory team knew they were the better side and would push until the final whistle. Yet more pressure from The Owls resulted in one of the great moments of the season. Havers lofted the ball into the Rovers box, in anticipation of a Priory head but it was met by the Rovers’ centre-back who cleared first time. The ball fell at the feet of our very own John Jensen, Nils Tomkins who volleyed home his second screamer of the season from 25 yards - just the type of goal this game deserved.


It was clear that Rovers were unused to this sort of resilience and were calling for the full-time whistle, praying for penalties as Priory continued to press. The ball was hoofed up the pitch and as tempers continued to flare, a soft free-kick was won on the bi-line. The ball was lofted in to the box, and the well-drilled Priory back-line stepped out like George Graham's Arsenal of old. While their winger was at least 5 meters offside, goalkeeper Neil was bundled over, giving two obvious reasons for the ref to blow-up, but he failed to make a decision and the ball was rolled into the PPR net. The goal was given. Tempers flared. Hunter politely questioned the ref’s decision and was quickly shown a straight red. Perhaps he was lucky to not have seen at least one yellow from earlier in the game, but this was another outrageous decision from the ref.


Throughout injury time, the 10 Owls fought on, continuing to put pressure on Rovers. Two corners were to no avail, before the final whistle sounded. Emotions were still running high, and arguments with the referee escalated, with him squaring up to players before showing a straight red to Tomkins Snr.


Some have questioned Priory’s discipline due to a high number of cards across the season, but on this occasion it was more of a reflection of the fight and hunger the players had to reach the next round of the cup. There was to be no shame in being robbed of this victory, and Rogers Rovers looking to see the game through to penalties is a credit to the attacking prowess of The Owls.In defeat Priory showed more courage and fight than any other game of the season and should look to continue to play with such determination and flare. "When you lose, don't lose the lesson.” 


MoM went to Andrew Meddings - proving to be the thorn in RR's side for the second time in as many matches. His assist demonstrated ultimate composure.


DoD went to Carsten Tomkins for the myriad of disciplinary issues that shroud his name. It is rumoured he somehow received 2 reds in this game, on top of his earlier yellow. No mean feat at all.

Singling out just one man of the match from this game wouldn't befit the occasion and effort put in by Priory Park Rangers. Having the league leaders begging for the referee to blow up for penalties is testimony to how well PPR improved since their meeting earlier in January.

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